Case Study

Adam Leitman Bailey, P.C. Successfully Defends Synagogue’s Title in Contested Foreclosure Action

After a three year diligent search and many disappointments, the board and building committee of a young, vibrant and growing synagogue located in Queens, New York finally secured a property that would house their future synagogue building. The synagogue is currently renting space in a temporary location and due to a steady growth in membership a larger space has become a necessary commodity. Both the location and price were exactly what they had been searching for. The property was well-maintained, large, and appropriately zoned to allow for ground-up renovation of their synagogue. The building committee members had purchased the property at a foreclosure auction after synagogue members quickly pooled together funds for the purchase.

Unbeknown to the synagogue members, on the morning of the foreclosure sale, the prior owner of the property filed an emergency application seeking to stop the sale, but the judge denied the motion and allowed the sale to move forward. However, the prior owner was not done filing motions. Subsequent to the foreclosure sale, the prior owner again moved by order to show cause to cancel the sale retroactively. The prior owner claimed he that he had the funds to payoff the mortgage on the date of the sale for which he was in default. The prior owner also collaterally attacked the foreclosure sale, moving by separate motion and order to show cause to vacate default judgment against him and seeking to re-open the case and interpose an answer with counterclaims. Concerned about the prospect of losing title to the property they had worked so hard to acquire, the synagogue building committee turned to Adam Leitman Bailey, P.C. (“ALBPC”) for assistance to defend their property rights.

Adam Leitman Bailey, P.C. attorneys quickly jumped into action, assessed the prior owners’ court filings and developed a comprehensive defense to the synagogue’s title. At the hearing on the motion, Adam Leitman Bailey, P.C. argued that the prior owner did not have actual funds in court on the day of the sale, what they had was a unsubstantiated photo of a check that was insufficient as a matter of law to constitute a tender of payment. Adam Leitman Bailey, P.C. further argued that there was a second mortgage holder on the property and the prior owner failed to demonstrate that he had the funds necessary to payoff that mortgage. Adam Leitman Bailey, P.C. also noted the substantial prejudice against the synagogue, should they be stripped of title to the property, as well as the fact that the prior owner stood to walk away with $400,000 in surplus funds. With respect to the motion to vacate default, the synagogue argued that prior owner filed the motion to vacate more than one year after entry of default judgment and that they failed to demonstrate a reasonable excuse or meritorious defense or that there had been any fraud in the sale.

In two written decisions, the judge agreed with all the arguments advanced by Adam Leitman Bailey, P.C. attorneys and denied the prior owners motions rightfully securing title to the synagogue.

As a result of Adam Leitman Bailey, P.C. strong advocacy and diligent defense, the synagogue now has a place to call home as they look forward to a bright future together as a community.

Adam Leitman Bailey, P.C. attorneys Israel Katz, Esq. and Danny Ramrattan, Esq. secured the victory for the synagogue.

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